KELBURN Castle, one of the oldest family owned estates in Scotland, has secured £1m of funding from Barclays to support the expansion of its luxury camping site.

The 13th century castle and 3,500 acre estate near Fairlie in North Ayrshire has been owned by the Boyle family since 1140. The present owner, Patrick Boyle, the 10th Earl of Glasgow, opened up the castle along with its grounds and gardens to the public in 1977.

A number of new attractions were introduced over the years and the latest move follows a 400% uptake in the estate’s glamping experience.

The Boyle family approached Barclays for support in restructuring borrowings and secure investment capital.

David Boyle, son of the 10th Earl of Glasgow and Commercial Manager of Kelburn Castle and Estate, said: “This deal marks the first time our family has banked with Barclays, and I have to say that the experience and service has been unrivalled. We needed a banking partner that would take the time to understand the heritage of our business but also recognise our ambition for growth. The Barclays team showed a willingness to help from the outset and their industry knowledge made them a perfect fit for us.

“This funding will allow us to reinvest in the estate to increase visitor numbers. We plan to install an additional nine yurts in direct response to the growing demand for glamping, and we are considering adding a communal building for campers to further drive growth and transform the site into a hospitality and music festival venue.”

Kelburn Castle and Estate is one of a number of businesses to benefit from Barclay’s £500m SME loan fund, launched in 2016 to provide access to funding for businesses across all sectors with turnover up to £25m. It forms part of the bank’s commitment to create a supportive environment for business growth in Scotland.

The deal was led by Barclays Agriculture Relationship Director Scot Howie, he added: “The importance of estates diversifying their offering and developing new income streams is vital for creating long-term sustainability, whether it’s introducing renewables or opening their doors to the public to enjoy their heritage. Our experienced agriculture team has helped many landowners implement initiatives to improve business resilience and increase profitability.

“Kelburn Castle and Estate has successfully accomplished this by continually evolving its offering as a popular visitor attraction and tourist destination in line with changing consumer demands. The estate now has a strong market position in Ayrshire, and we’re proud to support the family and help them make the most of opportunities for long-term growth.”